Drive by Daniel H. Pink: Summary and Notes

Do you really know what motivates us?

Dan Silvestre
5 min readMay 18, 2021


“Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing toward the horizon.”

Rating: 7/10

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Drive by Daniel H Pink: Short Summary

What motivates people to act as they do? There are many reasons, but the most powerful kind of motivation is intrinsic motivation. Companies, individuals, governments, schools, and even parents should seek to cultivate and encourage intrinsic motivation. An excellent book on why and how companies should be modeled for the 21st century.

Part 1: A New Operating System

Societies have operating systems. They include the laws, customs, economic arrangements, and the supposition of how the world works.

Motivation 1.0: The very first human operating system was based on survival

Motivation 2.0: As people began to cooperate, a new operating system that was based on how to respond to punishment and rewards was created

Harnessing motivation 2.0 was important for our economic development especially during the industrial revolution. Most companies still believe that the way to improve performance is to reward the good and punish the bad.

However, motivation 2.0 is incompatible with:

  • How we organize what we do. Recent trends like open-source software and benefit corporations cannot be explained by extrinsic motivation
  • How we think about what we do. Intrinsic motivation matters more than external motivations when making decisions
  • How we do what we do. As jobs become more reliant on creative expression and less on routines, the need for extrinsic motivation decreases

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Dan Silvestre

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